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Data visualisation toolbox

2 Why are we visualizing data?

In humanitarian and/or development programs, a clear understanding of our data is necessary to create or adapt programs to meet the needs of beneficiaries in the contexts in which we are working. Data visualization affects decision-making processes through allowing more people to understand and interpret data more quickly.

Data visualization is needed to be able to paint a picture of the data, allowing us to interpret it. Visualization gives an idea of what the information means by providing it a visual context. Doing so allows the human brain to more naturally comprehend the data, thereby identifying patterns, trends, outliers, etc. Data visualization can deliver data and increase comprehension in the most efficient way possible.

In summary, visualizations allow us to explore and explain data. Exploring the data through visualizations allows you to figure out what you want to highlight. Then, you can explain what you want to tell to your target audience.

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OCHA’s Centre for Humanitarian data